Mitt Romney Had Ethics Problems as Governor?

Well, Almost Anything...

This is the first I’ve heard of this, but if true, it’s troubling because it’s one more reason that experience in business really doesn’t translate to governance.  Right Across the Atlantic is reporting that Romney went on a trip while governing Massachusetts, paid by Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant, that ultimately looked like a sort of crony capitalism deal, but Romney side-stepped it by going on vacation so that his Lt. Governor would sign the bill, relieving him of any ethics investigation worries.  In fact, the whole manner of the episode is troubling, and you should check out the article in its entirety.

The article closes with this additional nugget:

“Now, again, he’s using the same tactics against Gingrich, and as before, you would think he would know better. But given that members of Romney’s staff have lobbied for Freddie Mac, while he’s tried to rake Gingrich over the coals for that also, it would be a good guess to say he doesn’t care.”

On Sunday, I again posited the notion that it’s Romney’s time as governor we should be heavily vetting, as that has the most direct applications to his qualification to be the GOP nominee.  Apparently, others have begun to catch on.

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  • http://gravatar.com/teefrtwo Gail

    I have noticed that the talking heads on FoxNews, that once were for Romney are now pulling back and see him for what he is. Not to different from Obama. Let someone else take the blame kind of guy, while he gets what he wants. I call that cowardly governance.

  • http://commonsense21c.com felton williamson

    Sir: I object to the use of the term "crony capitalism." Crony economics is the use of government force to reward or induce political support. Capitalism is government limited to protecting the individual from physical force from sources both foreign and domestic.

    The "crony capitalism" is a slur on capitalism implying that capitalism is somehow involved in the oppression of the individual instead of protecting the individual

    • http://www.markamerica.com MarkAmerica

      Well, that's true, but it's the currently accepted term. I don't have a problem with your logical argument.

  • Clem

    As Limbaugh says, Santorum is the one with the least baggage for the election. It's time to consolidate and become as passionate as we can around ONE candidate and talk about our opposition, not the other members of our own party.

  • http://gravatar.com/robocaller robocaller

    It is all true, I linked to old news articles that were contemporaneous to the ethics complaints.

    Romney's best defense at the time was that what he did was "normal practice", governors often flew on corporate jets. Pfizer was also most certainly trying to buy influence, the question is whether there was a quid pro quo. Romney argued that he was honest enough to stay objective and not be swayed by the perks and lavish attention.

    If you want to see what the amenities of Pfizer jets were btw, — http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-42846328/d

    I started on the article because I noticed that there were daily articles in my Google News feed that dug into Newt's background, but none into Romney's.

    One story that was floating around the time of the Bain criticism was "Gingrich's own private equity ties" and "Gingrich's private equity past." Several papers somehow had gotten wind of the fact that Gingrich once was a board member for a private equity firm. They reported it because they wanted to spin the situation as Gingrich attacking private equity, and somehow show this as evidence of hypocrisy on his part. One of the founders of the company he was a board member on, though — Ted Forstmann — was a big critic of over-leveraging and would have been a critic of some of the deals Bain did, so the whole line of attack was missing the mark.

    And just today I saw a new story floating that when Newt headed the Center for Health Transformation he hired lobbyists, with the insinuation that this harms his claim he never lobbied. This is the headline: "Gingrich shunned lobbying, but hired lobbyists." But guess what? Romney hired lobbyists at Bain Capital.

    Romney has lobbyists on his staff, worked with lobbyists in MA, hired lobbyists at Bain, and as I pointed out, there were even *ethics charges* about his associations with lobbyists. He also shares lobbyists with the Obama administration — now someone who worked for Solyndra is on his fundraising team. But somehow he's made Newt's consulting work into a big issue.

    Overall, there seem to be an readiness by both left and right news sources to dig into Newt's past but not Romney's. My guess is whats actually happening is that Team Romney is actively forwarding news stories to mainstream press reporters to get them to report it, and there's no similar effort by the Gingrich campaign.

    • http://gravatar.com/robocaller robocaller

      Oh, and he takes more money from lobbyists than all of the other candidates in the race.